Gloria S. Ross

Gloria S. Ross is the head of Okara Communications and AfterWords, an obituary-writing and design service.

Rosemary Straub Davison
Provided by the family

In July of 1991, Rosemary Davison took the keys and the deed to a home at 1067 Dunn Rd. in Florissant.

The two-story, red-brick farm house was built around 1860 by a German immigrant who had made his fortune during the California Gold Rush. Now, the house wasn’t fit to live in.

That didn’t matter to Ms. Davison. She wasn’t planning to live there. She was on a rescue mission.

With other members of Historic Florissant Inc., the nonprofit organization she helped found in 1969, Ms. Davison saved Gittemeier House from the wrecking ball.

Dr. James R. Drake with students
Provided by Saint Louis University School of Medicine

For the past 20 years, a clinic for St. Louisans who cannot afford basic health care quickly filled with patients every Saturday morning.

On many of those mornings, James R. Drake, M.D., a professor of internal medicine at Saint Louis University and a general internist, supervised medical, social work and physical therapy students at the nation’s only entirely student-run free health clinic.

Fred Epstein, in his office at Indeeco
Provided by the family

Fred Epstein took the reins of the industrial heater factory his father founded in 1929 (just days after the stock market crashed) and adroitly steered it into the 21strst century, all the while giving chunks of time to transform the local ACLU into a formidable organization. He died Wednesday at the age of 79.

Davie Lee
Provided by the family

Davie White’s father thought his son was a conscientious student who liked rising early to get ready for school. Often, Davie would be up and half-dressed when his father awoke. Andrew White didn’t realize that he was catching his son undressing for bed after a nightclub gig.

“He would sneak out and would just be coming in,” laughed his wife, Lou White. “So, he would have to get dressed again and go to school without any sleep.”

John Britton
Provided by Jennifer Durham

In recent years, Missouri lobbyist John Britton, who single-handedly thwarted innumerable attempts to enact laws that would put additional limits on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, made a late-in-life health concession: He went from smoking five packs a day to three.

In the early days, he was a Benson and Hedges man. He later switched to Camels, but recently he favored organic cigarettes and was smoking even less.

“He’d cut down to a pack and a half a day in the past six months,” laughed Jennifer Durham, his colleague for 46 years.

Steve DeBellis
Provided by the family

Steve DeBellis, the deliberately eccentric publisher of a tabloid that reported decades-old stories as if they happened yesterday, under headlines that defied passersby to ignore them, died Saturday.

Typical of Mr. DeBellis’ wit and dramatic flair was a World War II story about a surprise attack on skinny-dipping Germans headlined “Greeks Battle Nude Nazis.” The story appeared in the first edition in 1986 of The St. Louis Enquirer, renamed The St. Louis Globe-Democrat after the daily’s demise.

Deer Creek Watershed Alliance

Cindy Gilberg’s natural habitat was a garden. Preferably, one filled with native perennials.

Growing up in St. Louis, she spent much of her time exploring Shaw Nature Reserve. The love of the place, she wrote, brought her back as an adult and horticulturist “to work and share with others the possibilities of native landscaping and the joy of natural areas.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture, Ms. Gilberg fine-tuned her skills as the co-owner with her husband, Doug, of a Wildwood nursery for nearly three decades.

Morton Bearman
Provided by the Family

Morton R. Bearman, who helped elect two generations of Symingtons to Congress and who became one of the St. Louis area’s first environmental attorneys, died Friday. He was 92.

Mr. Bearman was a staunch Democrat who was active in politics throughout his life. He served as campaign chair for both the late Stuart Symington, the former four-term U.S. senator from Missouri, and Symington’s son, James, who was elected four times to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Louis Brodsky
Provided by the family

Louis Daniel Brodsky, a stunningly prolific writer who composed nearly 12,000 poems, including more than 350 on the Holocaust, has died.

When Mr. Brodsky decided to become serious about his poetry, he committed himself to writing a poem every day of his life.

“He worked at being a poet,” said Eugene Redmond, professor emeritus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and poet laureate of East St. Louis. “Lou went to work like a physician, like a person who worked in a coal mine, like a janitor, like a math teacher. It was amazing.”

Lou 'Fatha' Thimes Sr.
St. Louis Media Archive

In the dog-eat-dog world of music radio, Lou “Fatha” Thimes Sr. was top dog for a very long time.

“In broadcasting you’ve got to be able to contend with all types of personalities, your boss, the program director …” said the veteran disc jockey, leaving the sentence dangling in the 1999 book of biographies, Lift Every Voice and Sing. But, he added: “Broadcasting is a beautiful field. I’ve loved every moment of it.”

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